I know you’re going to ask, so here’s the answer: Dwayne De Rosario’s three goals in nine minutes was not the most compact hat trick in MLS history. Harut Karapetyan did it in five minutes during the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 8-1 win against the Dallas Burn in June 1998. So now you know.
It’s the only time Harut Karapetyan will ever be mentioned in the same sentence with Dwayne De Rosario. Promise.
DeRo’s three-goal, one-assist performance in the first half-hour will remain seared in our memories for a long time. We’ve seen hat tricks at RFK before, but not one with the artistry and punch that he delivered against Real Salt Lake. He did set the league record for fastest hat trick to start a league match. He also surged to the top of the MLS scoring race with 13 goals and increased his totals since moving to D.C. United to 10 goals and six assists in 13 appearances. If United qualifies for the playoffs, he’s going to be among the MVP candidates.
Overshadowed by DeRo’s display was a lively performance by Andy Najar (goal, assist) and an industrious effort by Stephen King.
My match report from D.C. United’s 4-1 victory.
After watching the match video package, proceed to the continuation of this entry for bonus quotes and a look at the playoff race.....
Josh Wolff: “It was a good response from the guys. Benny had some real words after the [Chivas] game. We felt like it was a loss, we knew we lost ground. We had a few guys speak out this week, but it was going to be about us tonight. When you bring the energy, you bring the focus and the right mentality, this group can do some good things.”
RSL Coach Jason Kreis, on DeRo: “He was brilliant. It was one of those nights where if you give a player like that a yard, then he’s going to punish you. And I think he punished us every time that we gave him a yard. So, hats off to him.”
Ben Olsen, on the Bill Hamid-Perry Kitchen collision in the first half: “I don’t know how you take a hit like that from Bill and get up. I thought Bill actually ate him.”
Kitchen: “I thought I was dead for a second.”
MLS PLAYOFF RACE
Eastern Conference automatic berths
Houston Dynamo 42 points from 31 matches
Sporting Kansas City 41 points from 30 matches
Columbus Crew 41 points from 30 matches
Western Conference automatic berths
Los Angeles Galaxy 61 points from 30 matches
Seattle Sounders 54 points from 30 matches
Real Salt Lake 51 points from 29 matches
FC Dallas 46 points (30)
Colorado Rapids 42 points (31)
Philadelphia Union 40 points (29)
New York Red Bulls 39 points (30)
D.C. United 38 points (28)
Portland Timbers 37 points (30)
Chivas USA 35 points (31)
San Jose Earthquakes 31 points (30)
Chicago Fire 30 points (28)
Toronto FC 30 points (31)
New England Revolution 27 points (29)
Vancouver Whitecaps 22 points (29)
How unsettled is the East? Houston is first, but with only three matches left (home against Chicago, at Portland, home against L.A.) and several teams in hot pursuit, the Dynamo could miss the playoffs altogether. Defending champion Colorado is also down to three games (Dallas and RSL at home and at Vancouver).
Thursday, at Philadelphia (ESPN2)
Sunday, at Columbus (Comcast SportsNet)
Oct. 12, at Vancouver (Comcast SportsNet) De Rosario away on Canada World Cup qualifying duty in Toronto the day before
Oct. 15, home against Chicago (no TV)
Oct. 19, home against Portland (Comcast SportsNet)
Oct. 22, home against Kansas City (no TV)